Should I be Going Grain-Free for My Pets?
I have been thinking it’s been a few weeks since I’ve updated you on Lucy’s progress for her weight loss. Progress has been there, but minimal in just a few weeks time. Just simply controlling her favorite foods, portion control, and increasing activity levels have started her off on the right paw. Lucy has been taking well to the new habits, that she won’t let me forget, to take her for walks - not just let her play in the backyard.
My sister told me she is feeding her dog an exclusively grain-free diet. This wasn’t by choice but by chance, after she spent a weekend at our mother’s house, who is feeding her dog a grain-free diet. The problem was that after a weekend at grandma’s house - my sister’s dog quit eating after she went home. She couldn’t figure out why, but for three days her dog had been eating grandma’s dog food and refused to go back to her usual brand. So after comparing dog foods, it made sense to her. Grain-free was the way to go.
To me, It makes sense that grain-free would be the natural diet for our dogs, and our cat friends, too. Long before their diets consisted of ‘anything that falls onto the floor’ the canine diet consisted of raw protein - rich foods that they would hunt and capture. They did not graze peacefully in fields of flowers with all the other animals. They were carnivores. A high quality protein-rich grain-free dog food would closely mimic your dog’s ‘ancestral’ diet and would be the most natural diet to feed your dog.
It’s true that dogs have evolved from their wolf cousins into internet celebrities, K-9 officers, and family pets; but their intestinal tracts have not changed much. Dogs simply do not have the digestive support needed to break down complex carbohydrates or cereal grains the way we do. Due to their inability to break them down, their bodies rely heavily of fermentation as a way to try to attempt digestion. None of us can stand to be around a smelly dog! Besides that, long term effects can lead to food and skin allergies, bowel disorders and other long term upsets.
Some signs of food allergies:
If you see any of these signs, talk to your vet to see if a change in diet would work for your dog. Most vets today recommend a grain-free pet food, and prefer a diet rich in vegetables (50%), protein (40%) and low in grains (10%). This balance is what is most easily digested and the nutrients absorbed. Some of the other benefits of going grain-free include:
With all these bonuses, I’m ready to sign both Lucy and Linus up for grain-free.
Now any time you switch your dog’s food it is recommended that you do so gradually, it’s always a good rule of paw to go slow. Read the label carefully, because grain-free does not necessarily mean a reduction in carbs. Often times, due to the higher vegetable content the carbohydrates are higher, but they are good carbs paired with quality proteins. Vegetables are a healthy part of your pet's’ diet and should make up nearly 50% of it.
K9-Cuisine offers several choices to start looking for your pet’s favorite:
This brand offers a variety of flavors that your dog will love like Free-Run Poultry, Freshwater Fish, and Duck & Bartlett Pear.
Canidae offers great canned and kibble choices, in meaty flavors like Pure Elements w/Fresh Lamb and Pure Sky w/Fresh Bison.
Known for distinct flavors, offered in both canned and kibble this is a great choice for all breed types. For picky eaters try the Meat Lover's Medley with Rabbit.
A brand well known for their exotic flavors and combinations like their Orijen Tundra, which features ranch-raised bison, venison and elk, cage-free duck and quail, steelhead trout, along with fresh fruits and veggies.
Fromm Family Pet Foods is a very well known brand. Their foods use 17 different wholesome ingredients base. The results of this balanced blend of foods are that it aids in digestion, has fewer allergic reactions and gives your pet a boost of energy.
Legacy Pet Foods cares about the quality of your pets’ food. They are known for having a kibble that contains human grade quality meats combined with an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. Boosting your pets immune health is the addition of unique botanicals and natural supplements..
With all the choices out there, Lucy is sure to find one that she will enjoy sharing with her best friend Linus. Now that we’ve learned more about the nutritional needs of our furry friends, it makes sense to have them on a grain-free diet. I hope that you have learned a little something, and it helps your best friend’s doggy dish too.